INDIANAPOLIS – I know the title is a little brash, but there’s no other way to describe what happened at Bankers Like Fieldhouse.
The Duke Blue Devils went into Tuesday night’s game against the Kentucky Wildcats as underdogs. Kentucky was more experienced, bigger, deeper and equally talented. Duke wasn’t even favored to win, let alone put up 118 points on the 2nd ranked team in the nation. But that’s exactly what happened.
The Blue Devils and Wildcats traded buckets at the beginning of the game – with Duke’s Tre Jones hitting a three pointer and Kentucky’s Keldon Johnson answering with a layup. But that one point margin, less than a minute into the game, is as close as Big Blue would get. By midway into the first half, Duke had opened up a 34-12 lead on one of the best teams in the country.
“We played great,” Coach K said after the game flanked by freshmen phenoms Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett – who combined for 61 points. “I’m really proud of my guys. You start four freshmen, no matter how talented they are, you never know what they’re going to do. In this environment. against an outstanding team and great program, they responded. They were magnificent tonight.”
Duke started their 4 freshmen stars (Tre Jones, Cam Reddish, RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson) and they didn’t disappoint – running the floor with ease, playing with a cohesiveness that you’d see in a squad that’s been playing together for years and having the type of fun that permeated through everyone in the building (except Kentucky fans). Together they scored 89 points, brought down 17 rebounds, dished 8 assists and only turned the ball over three times (Tre Jones impressed with 7 assists and 0 turnovers).
With as well as they performed Tuesday night some are asking what, if any, is this team’s peak. To that Zion Williamson says, chill…it’s still just the first game.
“I think we played very well, but I’m not sure what our peak is. This is just one game. I think with a coach like Coach K he’ll be able to tell us what our peak is. So we just have to keep playing hard and we’ll find it.”
And that’s the scary part….
Duke continues their season Sunday at home against Army.